The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) improved its position in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023 and was the only Indian university in the top 300 list, even as several IITs boycotted it for the third consecutive year raising doubts over its parameters and transparency.
Seventy-five Indian institutes were part of the rankings in 2023 as compared to 56 in 2020 and just 31 in 2017.
Universities ranked lower in the India Rankings by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) as well as the QS World University Rankings 2023 have raced ahead of higher education institutions such as Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Benaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University in the Times Rankings, raising more questions on its parameters and transparency.
The Times Higher Education (THE) and QS (Quacquarelli Symonds), both of which are based in London, are two of the most prominent higher-education surveys in the world.
India is the sixth most represented country in the 2023 rankings with 75 ranked universities. Six Indian universities have made their rankings debut this year, with Shoolini University of Biotechnology and Management Sciences the highest ranked of the newcomers, ranked at 351-400.
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati was last featured in the 2020 edition and returns this year in the 1001-1200 band.
India's policy leaders have fully embraced the vital need for India to join the global knowledge economy network and to ensure that the nation's universities compete with, collaborate with, and benchmark themselves against the very best universities in the world.
"This will all be vital to realising India's full potential as the world's largest democracy and the key to unlocking the full economic might of India's vast youth population – improving training in high-level skills and enabling new knowledge creation and innovation. And the data shows that the policy is succeeding and delivering real change," said Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer, Times Higher Education.
While the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc), IITs, NITs and universities such as JNU, Jamia or Delhi University traditionally top among Indian institutions in majority of the global as well as national rankings, the Times Higher Education rankings since 2000 has seen the top technical institutions missing in the lists.
Seven IITs - Bombay, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras and Roorkee - had in 2020 opted out of THE World University Rankings raising doubts over transparency and parameters of the rankings.
"The seven IITs will not participate in the ranking this year. They will reconsider their decision next year if Times Higher Education is able to convince them about the parameters and transparency in their ranking process," the institutes had then said in a joint statement.
IIT-Guwahati rejoined the ranking this year.
For Indian institutions, in this year's THE rankings, higher education institutions such as IIT-Indore, JNU and AMU are ranked below institutions which have been ranked significantly lower in NIRF rankings.
Globally, the University of Oxford retains the top spot for the seventh consecutive year.
A record number of 1,799 universities from 104 countries and regions are ranked, 137 more than last year. The number of U.S. universities represented in the top 100 continues to fall, from a peak of 43 in 2018 to 34 this year.
"We are not just seeing more representation for India in the rankings, we're seeing a rise up the rankings: the leading institution, Indian Institute of Science, has risen to make the world top 300 this year, and we now have nine Indian institutions in the world top 600, up from just six last year," said Mr. Baty.